The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Commissioner Kehoe leaving DTA; new Commissioner appointed

We received a copy of the email below llate last week announcing a change in the guard at DTA. Julia Kehoe will be moving over to EOHHS to take on a new Senior Policy Development position and Daniel Curley of the Justice Resource Institute will be taking the DTA helm. EOHHS Secretary Dr. Bigby's email gives more details.

From the Food SNAP Coalition's perch, Commissioner Kehoe has lead DTA during some of the most difficult times in recent history - a significant surge in the SNAP caseload due to the Recession, fewer front line DTA staff, multiple natural disasters, an increasingly hostile Congress outside of MA snarfing around for SNAP cuts.  Under Commissioner Kehoe's leadership over the past four years, DTA has pursued numerous state policies and federal options to protect SNAP recipients from loss of benefits, reduce verifications and interviews, improve SNAP access routes and increase SNAP benefits. Under her leadership, DTA has accepted many of the proposals of the Food SNAP Coalition and been an active, valued partner in the quest to reduce hunger and food insecurity in Massachusetts.  

Commissioner Kehoe will be attending the Food SNAP Coalition at our November 29th meeting.  (Tuesday, November 29th, 10 - Noon, St Francis House, Boston).  Please join us on the 29th in thanking Commissioner Kehoe for all her work during the past four plus years as well as discuss ways we can continue to work with her and EOHHS in the months and years ahead.  

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Sent: Thursday, November 03, 2011 11:49 AM
To: DTA - All Staff List
Subject: A Message from Secretary Bigby

Dear DTA staff,

As you now know, Commissioner Julia Kehoe will assume a new role as Senior Advisor on Policy Development in the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.  Commissioner Kehoe has been a strong leader at DTA for more than four years, and her commitment to the diverse needs of low-income populations has made very real and meaningful contributions to people’s lives.

I’d like to highlight just a few of Julia’s many accomplishments as Commissioner of DTA.  Under her leadership, the Department has increased the amount of SNAP benefits coming into Massachusetts by more than $70 million per month and continued to manage a caseload that has more than doubled, despite significant budget challenges due to the national economic climate.  She also oversaw major improvements to the SNAP application process by streamlining applications for elders and people with disabilities and establishing longer recertification periods, standard medical deductions, expanded categorical eligibility, and pre-filled re-certification forms.  The Department has also won millions of dollars in SNAP High Performance Bonus Awards from the USDA.  DTA formed a new partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to expand EBT access at Farmers’ Markets, making farm-fresh produce and healthy foods more available to people in Massachusetts.  She also managed – from start to finish – the creation of the first-ever Statewide Hunger Summit and established the innovative DTA Works program, which provides support and job training to hundreds of TAFDC clients through internship opportunities at local DTA offices.  Following the devastating tornadoes that impacted Massachusetts earlier this year, DTA administered Disaster SNAP benefits to more than 16,000 survivors in just seven days.  These are just a few of the many accomplishments that Julia has overseen during her time as Commissioner. 

In her new role as Senior Advisor on Policy Development, Commissioner Kehoe will work closely with me to align program goals and outcomes across agencies to improve the quality of services to consumers, leverage existing programs to better focus on reducing poverty and associated social problems, and increase government efficiency by reducing duplication and maximizing limited resources.  I am thankful that Julia will remain part of our team and know she will continue to make significant contributions to the important work we do.  I know you will join me in thanking Julia for her leadership as Commissioner and congratulate her on her new role at EOHHS. 

I also wanted to share with you that Governor Patrick has appointed Daniel J. Curley to serve as the new Commissioner of the Department of Transitional Assistance. Dan currently serves as Director of Administration and Finance at the Justice Resource Institute, a regional multi-service agency that provides a range of education, housing and supportive services to children and adults with physical, emotional and learning disabilities. In this role, he has enhanced consumer voice and involvement at all levels of the organization and established continuous quality improvement systems.  Before joining JRI in 2005, he served as Executive Director of Cambridge Cares about AIDS, where he instituted a model program for homeless youth that provided case management, mental health, health and dental services.  Previously, he was Director of Operations for Behavioral Health Services at the Dimock Community Health Center in Roxbury.  I know you will welcome Dan when he begins on November 21.

JudyAnn Bigby, M.D.

JudyAnn Bigby, M.D.
Secretary, Executive Office of Health and Human Services
One Ashburton Place, Suite 1109
Boston, MA 02108
617 573-1800)